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May 2007

May 2007
Table of Contents

In this Issue
Explore PR on an ATV
A woman of influence
Grief Point School celebrates
Big plans for Rainbow Lodge
Understanding the early years 
Living with cancer 
Relay for life
Headshave raises big bucks!  
Waking up the birds and bees
Lawn Bowling for all ages 
Patternmaker has global business
Powell River Women in Business 
Image 1 makeover contest 
New way to pamper and relax 
Women’s work
Effects of tourism
Call for summer art tour 
Business connections
Tatoo comes to Powell River
Rick Hansen Wheels in Motion 
Pesticides and your health 
Mason bees help your garden
Adventure with a bear 

In every Issue
Family Matters
      Reviewing: Panther, by Roderick Haig-Brown
Explore Powell River
In Business 
Blast from the Past 
      French Club celebrates 40 years

Community Calendar
Faces of Education



Family Matters

Isabelle SouthcottBy Isabelle Southcott

Cure for a bad day

Never give up.

Did you ever feel like you were running uphill forever? That there was no top to the hill, no place to coast, no reprieve in sight?

Not long ago I was having one of those days (okay it was more than a day) in my life. I was feeling kind of bummed out and frustrated with the way things were going.

Just when I felt like giving up I checked my email and found this inspirational quote had arrived moments earlier. It said: “Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn,” said Harriet Beecher.

Well I couldn’t help but smile and wonder if that was to be the case in my life. I looked over and saw a photograph of my two beautiful boys and my heart was filled with love.
Just because things look bad right now doesn’t mean it will always be this way. I took a deep breath and looked inside until I found the strength and faith I needed to make it through this rough patch.

There’s more than one way to look at anything. We’ve all heard of looking at the glass as if it is half full instead of half empty, right? How it’s all about your perspective.
If you start to look at all the good things in your life when you’re feeling blue chances are you’ll start to feel better before too long. With this in mind, I began to focus on all the positive things that have happened in my life.

I was about five minutes into this little exercise when the phone rang. It was a friend I hadn’t seen much of recently. She had called to talk about a project we might do together and after we’d dealt with that she asked me how I was doing so I told her. Not the candy coated version you give someone you meet in the grocery store lineup but the real honest-to-goodness truth. The no holds-barred version. The “You know, I’m really having a bad day. I’m struggling with a few problems in my life….”

We talked and I felt better for having shared my problems with a trusted friend. A little while later the doorbell rang and Grand Mums Flowers delivered a lovely flower arrangement from this friend.

The note was simple, it said: “A little something to brighten your day.”

It was then that I realized just how lucky I am. Lucky to have special friends in my life who genuinely care, lucky to have a roof over my head, enough food and clean water, and lucky to live in such a beautiful community.

While thinking about how lucky I was, I remembered an old Danish proverb I’d heard years earlier that had made an impression on me. “Go often to the house of a friend, for weeds soon choke up the unused path.”

Next time you’re having a bad day, think about your friends. Think about all the good things in your life and hang in there, for who knows, the tide may just be about to turn.



ATVExploring Powell River on an ATV
By Wayne Lutz

If it wasn’t for my friend, John, I wouldn’t have been tempted. Every weekend, John loads his all-terrain vehicle, a bright blue quad, into the bed of his pickup truck and heads for the mountains. “Come along,” he’d say. “You won’t believe what you’ll see out there.”

But I simply had better things to do. So I put it off for a long time before finally giving in. When I finally decided to give ATV riding a try, I slipped in slowly with a small off-road motorcycle, a 100cc bike that was fun to ride and a good introduction to trail riding. I followed John on his more powerful quad, up and over the trails of the region, letting him introduce me to places he knew were within my capabilities. My small motorcycle was enough to get me into trouble, but following an experienced rider kept things under control. I rode with a mix of off-road motorcycles and quads, but these two types of “bikes” seldom ride together because of their different capabilities. Motorcycles—at least those larger than mine—ride much faster than quads, but there are areas where the four-wheel stability of the quad makes rough and muddy trails more accessible than on a motorcycle.

Soon I recognized there were places I simply couldn’t go with my small motorcycle. One day, on a particularly rough and muddy trail, I turned back as a group of quad riders pressed on through the same terrain without a concern. In another month, I too was on a quad, discovering the wonders of remote off-road riding. Immediately, I was hooked.

Logging roads in the Powell River area are available to the public on weekends, opening wide paths to the backcountry for ATV riders. Goat Lake Main is such an example. You enter from Highway 101 near Lang Bay and ride north past a glorious chain of lakes, all the way to (and past) Goat Lake, connecting at-will to remote trails into the high country. The area is so vast it is not unusual to ride for hours without seeing another human being. And you are immediately up-close with nature and the local wildlife.

Like any recreational activity, you can spend a lot of money on equipment. New quads range from about $5000 to over $10,000 for the more-powerful models. But there are a lot of great values in used equipment too, as riders sell their quads when they move up to larger models. My wife drives a small 230cc two-wheel drive quad that suits her perfectly. She finds her smaller ATV easy to maneuver and comfortable to drive, and there are very few places she can’t go with this quad. A mid-size quad in the 400cc range can handle almost everything you encounter on a ride in rough territory. These more-powerful models all incorporate four-wheel drive and automatic transmissions.

The Powell River ATV Club offers new riders a chance to learn quad skills on group rides. The club has a policy of riding to the level of the least-powerful quad and most-inexperienced rider, so such organized trail rides assure you don’t get in over your head. Best of all, you will be riding with a group of people who thrive on helping others. Advanced riders are quick to assist the novice, and everyone enjoys sharing hints on trail riding skills and equipment. There’s no better way to develop your skills than to follow behind an experienced rider on a tough trail. Just put your quad in the tire tracks of an expert rider, and pretty soon you’ll be driving like a pro. But you can blaze your own path too, once you have a little experience. Or start out slowly by yourself, and you’ll do just fine. Carry a good map, a camera, plenty of water, and a hearty lunch. A GPS is nice too, but our region’s GPS geographic database is not as detailed as a paper map, and you’ll need to park clear of overhead trees to receive a signal from GPS satellites. If possible, travel with a friend until you are familiar with local road and trail landmarks.

You’ll need a pickup truck to carry your quad, although a trailer is an optional way to transport your ATV with any vehicle you drive. The bed of full-sized trucks will carry almost any quad. Even compact trucks can carry most quads. You’ll also need a pair of loading ramps. The only additional equipment you’ll need is a helmet and goggles (to protect your eyes from dust), a pair of gloves, boots, and thick clothing, just in case of a tumble. But falls from quads are extremely rare. I’ve been riding quads for over two years and have never taken a spill, nor do I know of friends who have encountered such incidents.

The Powell River region has endless areas to explore on an ATV. Many of the most desirable locations are open every weekend, when all logging roads are available for recreational use. Other area logging roads are inactive, so there are plenty of places to ride on weekdays too. A typical day’s ride might enter Goat Main (weekends only) via Dixon Road, exiting off Highway 101 at Lang Bay. As you progress up Goat Main, you’ll find several pull-off areas suitable for offloading your quad, or you can offload at the southwest tip of Lois Lake in a wide turnout. From there, your ride might take you up Goat Main to Tin Hat Junction, turning right to cross Horseshoe River, and then left to travel up Stillwater Main to the E-Branch cut-off. The climb from here will be on a narrowing trail, easily accessed by ATV, but with plenty of challenges for all levels of experience. You’ll see plunging waterfalls in your climb along E Branch, cross small creeks (easily navigated on a quad), eventually arriving at a turnaround area just past Alpha Lake. From there, take the short hike to Beta Lake, where you’ll find scattered snow patches in the summer and a breathtaking view of the mountains and nearby Emma Lake.

It’s an outdoor experience difficult to explain. Even majestic photos don’t do it justice. So don’t blame me, when after your first ride, you’re hooked. There’s just something about the Powell River backcountry as seen from an ATV, and there’s no getting it out of your blood once it’s there.



Blast from the Past

French Club celebrates 40 years in Powell River

In the early 1960s Francophone families began to arrive in Powell River and the men began working at the mill.

Most of these families didn’t speak English and they felt isolated in their new homes. The women recognized this and decided something needed to be done so they organized social activities together. As a result Club Bon Accueil was officially founded in 1967.

French ClubRhea Zajac-Beauchesne is in charge of Club Bon Accueil’s (CBA) 40th anniversary project. She’s spent the last two years compiling the history of the club. A book celebrating 40 years of history of the Francophones of Powell River edited by Zajac and Peggy Sigouin will be on sale during the club’s 40th anniversary celebrations on June 1, 2 and 3.

“Those who came here were mostly coming from the county of Abitibi in Québec for employment at the mill and bringing their families with them,” said Zajac.

One of the first to arrive was Jean-Paul Côté in 1964. He drove here by himself to check out the community and brought a movie camera. When he left Québec in November 1964 it was 40 below zero—when he arrived in Powell River it was 70 above!

“He kept sending films back east for everyone to see and everyone was very excited. He kept telling them there were jobs, the mill was hiring and how beautiful Powell River was!” said Linda Cosentino, executive director of CBA. “Mr. Côté’s brother came to Powell River and then friends. This was where it all started.”

Most of them did not speak English. The women especially felt a need to socialize so they met in private homes and at the back of the Catholic Church. In 1967, Stéphana Rivest decided it was time to form a club. It was women only until Josée Crossland in 1976-77 became president and helped the club join the Fédération des Franco-Colombiens at which time men and families joined.

In 1977, the Programme Cadre was officially approved, and thanks to the hard work of a group of determined mothers the program took off. Powell River was among the first nine school districts to offer Programme Cadre and of the 232 children enrolled throughout the province, 30 were in Powell River—the largest number of enrolments in proportion to the size of the community. A classroom was set aside at the former JP Dallos School—now the site of the French school, École Côte du Soleil.

As the membership in the Club Bon Accueil grew, more space was needed so they decided to build their own club. In 1982, a Francophone preschool was started but it didn’t have a permanent home. Preschool Picotine had 30 children the year it opened.

A lot was purchased and on July 2, 1985, construction began with teams of volunteers. The center was finished in November of that year and the official opening was held on February 13, 1986. “Every time I read that, I am totally amazed. They started in June and by November they were in the building. Colin Palmer, who was mayor at the time, dug the first shovelful of dirt. A lot of volunteer labour went in building it,” said Zajac.
By March 1991, capital and interest borrowed to build the club, was paid off and a mortgage burning was held.

The French community is still thriving in Powell River today. Club Bon Accueil runs many programs such as the Beau Soleil Preschool, the before and after school, Côte du Soleil Daycare, and a summer camp. Côte du Soleil School provides education from kindergarten to grade 9 at its own building on Michigan Avenue, and grades 10 to 12 at Brooks Secondary School.

Zajac looks back on what has been accomplished by Powell River’s French community with obvious pride. “We started with just a few French courses at English schools,” she said. “Today we have more than 100 students and 10 full time teachers.” February 2005 saw the launch of the Centre for Leadership and Adventure in Nature (CLAN) open under the guidance of director Michel Thibeault.

While working on compiling the history of the French Club, Zajac has been amazed to discover just how much of an influence French Canadians have had in British Columbia and Powell River. “We see Francophones all over the place in our history.”

June 1, 2 and 3 will be a special celebration of Club Bon Accueil. Many events are planned for the whole community; everyone is invited to participate in 40 years of memories. On June 1, there are the opening ceremonies with a wine and cheese social, on June 2, a Gala dinner with Powell River’s singer/songwriter Josée Allard along with Les Cireux d’Semelles, a group representing the renewal of French Canadian roots outside of Québec. On June 3, a brunch gets underway at 10 am followed by an open house at 1 pm where Les Cireux d’Semelles will perform again.

More than 900 pictures have been compiled for a slide show on “Forty years of Memories.” An arts and crafts exposition will be held and various activities that have taken place over the years will be showcased during the celebration. French Canadian traditions such as the making of maple sugar, the local French education program and the pioneering families will all be featured.

Zajac’s countless hours over the last two years, compiling for the souvenir album and a cookbook of recipes favoured by French Canadians, has been a labour of love.
Heritage Canada has helped these big celebrations by providing grants to prepare the exhibitions and the publication of the books. For more information call Cosentino at 604 483-3966 or Zajac at 604 485-4030.



Faces of Education
School District key in provincial hearing program

Most Canadians take communication for granted and yet, ten per cent have a speech or hearing disorder, which impedes their capacity to communicate. In school, it is estimated that forty-five per cent of what children learn is received auditorily. Children who can’t hear what is going on around them miss out on a lot, which is why having auditory access to what is going on in the classroom is critical for student achievement and social competence.

Joe Coelho is a little known employee of School District 47 doing a huge job of running the provincial resource program, Cochlear Implant and Auditory Training Outreach, funded by the Ministry of Education to support students with cochlear implants as well as others who have hearing difficulties and need assistive listening devices. A cochlear implant is a surgically implanted device that stimulates the auditory nerve and allows deaf individuals to perceive sound and develop oral language.

Joe CoelhoCoelho, who grew up on Texada and in Powell River, is excited to be involved. He is proud that Powell River agreed to administer the program five years ago when the ministries of education and health were making changes, including reorganizing the program that provided assistive listening devices to schools. “At the time this program was going to be discontinued unless there was support from the education system in BC for it,” said Coelho. “The (Powell River) board and administration understood the need to support students with hearing difficulties and agreed to host this program.” Because this is a provincial program, Coelho and other members of his team spend quite a bit of time travelling to various communities in BC to support students with hearing loss and their families.

“This is a critical program for  students throughout the province. Part of the cochlear implant support mission is to provide equitable access to services regardless of where the student lives, and Powell River has been instrumental in making these services available to the entire province,” he said.

Currently, the program supports about 100 students with cochlear implants in BC, and another 1,300 who are hard of hearing have access to assistive listening devices. Assistive listening devices provided through the program include hearing aids, personal FM systems and sound fields, all intended to enable students to hear better.

“With constant technological advancements, it is an exciting time to be in this field,” says Coelho. “Technology is making it easier for students to access the education program and we’ll see more of these changes as technology evolves. Already we are looking at bilateral cochlear implants, implantable hearing aids and other advancements that make it easier for individuals with hearing loss to communicate orally in a variety of sound environments.”

Besides his administrative role, Coelho also helped establish the Canadian Sensory Institute (CSI), a not-for-profit organization that funds and carries out activities and programs for the advancement and education of persons with disabilities.

The CSI offers scholarships to graduating deaf and hard of hearing students going to university, as well as those going to technical and vocational post-secondary training. The CSI is also planning summer camps and programs for students with special needs. One of those camps is in partnership with School District 47, and will be held at Rainbow Lodge on Powell Lake this summer.

“We’ll be able to provide opportunities for summer activities that students would not have access to otherwise,” says Coelho.

This camp is intended to give students, who may not otherwise be able, the chance to experience a summer camp in a natural setting. All the appropriate supports and staff will be put in place.

Coelho can’t say enough about this wonderful community and the people he works with. “Our family came to Texada Island in 1967 from Europe, and I was the only student with English as a second language on Texada at the time.”

Although many years have passed, he still remembers how friendly and welcoming everyone was to him and his family when they moved here. Coelho moved to the lower mainland with his family in 1970, attended the University of British Columbia where he obtained a Bachelor of Science and then trained as a secondary school teacher. After working a few years, he returned to university and trained  to be a teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing. For the last 20 years, he has been working supporting students with special needs. He has had many assignments and has worked with the ministry of education in many capacities.

“I work with a wonderful group of individuals. We have audiologists, speech and language pathologists, hearing resource teachers and other professionals and para-professionals on our group. We form a good team and we have a strong vision for education and student support.”

Coelho is proud to be part of the Powell River team, one that is committed to pursuing excellence in education and offering program choices for students and parents.



Explore Powell River

Click to enlarge
by Rod Innes